Mark Hughes wants Stoke players to be inspired by fans' anger

11 December 2017

Stoke manager Mark Hughes has urged his players to be fuelled by the fan fury they experienced at a train station following Saturday's thrashing by Tottenham.

Hughes' squad were greeted by an angry mob of Potters supporters when they arrived back in the city following the 5-1 loss to Spurs at Wembley, with the defeat leaving them three points above the relegation zone ahead of Tuesday's trip to Burnley.

Fans who had shared the journey back with the players to Stoke vented their frustration on the station's platform, chanting "you're not fit to wear the shirt" at Hughes' players.

Stoke have won just three of their previous 15 games and if the squad were not aware of the growing displeasure among their followers, they were given a public display of it at the weekend.

Hughes admits some of his players may never have witnessed such scenes but hopes it will inspire them to fight for the cause ahead of pre-Christmas contests with Burnley, West Ham and West Brom.

"That is still resonating - it's good we have a game on Tuesday because it is still fresh in the mind, fresh in their ears probably," he said.

"Use it as a motivating factor. Don't allow people to have an opportunity to question you. You do that by playing well, getting results.

"There could be individuals in our group who haven't experienced it before, but they have now. So they can use it now.

"You either suck it up and do something about it or you go under, and we can't accept players like that. I don't feel we have players like that.

"Sometimes you need a reality check, and understand how our results and performances affect people.

"Each and every one of us understood that before the weekend, so let's use it as a motivating factor, don't let it make you insular or go into your shell."

Though Stoke's players regularly travel back from away games alongside supporters, fans were peeved by Hughes' team conceding four or more against Spurs for the fourth game in a row.

Moreover, their numbers were greater due to trains being delayed out of the capital, and fans were then locked inside carriages and made to wait while Hughes' team were allowed off the train first.

It was an indication of the ill feeling towards not just the players but Hughes himself.

"There's been an undercurrent since I've been here," the boss added of the flak aimed in his direction.

"On the day I was appointed there was a car outside the stadium with 'Hughes out' written on it - that was before I even got here!

'But I understand it, some people won't like you or your teams, your picks, your substitutions; some don't like your hair or the way you speak.

'You can't take exception to it, I'm the public face of the team so I have to take the brunt of it, I accept that to a certain extent."

Source: PA